HANOVER, N.H. -- Dartmouth College Director of Athletics and Recreation Harry Sheehy today announced a broad new initiative entitled Dartmouth Peak Performance (DP2).
"DP2 will serve as an umbrella for the integration of existing services and increased resources targeted at helping our student-athletes achieve the highest levels of physical, intellectual and personal growth during their Dartmouth careers," explained Sheehy. "Each area of performance -- academic, athletic and personal -- will be bolstered by the collaborative efforts of many professionals across campus.
"A generous donation has enabled us to announce this first step in what is sure to be an exciting work in progress in the coming months and years," Sheehy continued. "DP2 will be focused initially on our varsity student-athletes, with the hope of eventually considering broadening the program to include club sport and recreational athletes."
Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim stated, "We think that by bringing together the focus on our student-athletes' academic performance, athletic performance and also on personal areas like leadership and personal wellness, we can not only get them to their highest possible potential as athletes, but prepare them for life in ways that are extremely important."
A physician, anthropologist and former collegiate athlete himself, Dr. Kim added, "Our intention is that as we get better and better at bringing athletes to their peak performance on the field, in the classroom and in their personal lives, those lessons will begin to spread to the entire campus."
The integration of these efforts will be coordinated by Drew Galbraith in the new role of Senior Associate Athletics Director for Peak Performance. Galbraith, who earned both his B.A. and J.D. from the College of William & Mary, has been an athletics administrator at the NCAA Division I level for 13 years, including the last seven at Dartmouth. He'll be assisted by Anne Hudak and Donald Brooks in the new roles of Assistant Athletics Director for Peak Performance. Both Hudak and Brooks bring a variety of collegiate coaching and administrative experiences to their positions.
"Coaches, sports medicine staff, and strength and conditioning coaches will all have important roles in the development of DP2," explained Galbraith. "Each head coach will provide key input into the services utilized by each team, and all aspects of each athletic team will be assessed."
An increased importance will be placed on rehabilitation methods and access as well as injury prevention, while the athletics training staff, health services and DHMC physicians will collaborate on best practices for delivery of health services to student-athletes. Certified strength coaches will continue to work with teams to maximize fitness and strength while minimizing injury, with greater emphasis being placed on assessment, outcomes and evaluation of programs. In addition, DP2 will focus on investing new resources and better use of sports psychology and nutrition.
The main priority of the academic portion of DP2 will be on making good academic decisions, namely time management, course selection, and the use of office hours, tutors and study groups. Faculty advisors will continue to play a critical role in the academic progress of student-athletes as other faculty members are engaged for future growth and sustainability. Hudak and Brooks will coordinate the provision of academic services with other campus offices, while the department as a whole will work with the Dean of the College area to ensure that the student-athletes are familiar with the new advising process in the Dean's area as well as the Academic Skills Center.
The other vital aspect of DP2 is the focus on personal performance, particularly the development of leadership skills for each student-athlete through the expansion of current programs such as LEAD (Leadership Education and Development). Strategies for physical and mental wellness will also be integral to the mission of DP2, including new campus initiatives concerning binge drinking and sexual conduct. In addition, the athletics department will continue to encourage and facilitate a high level of involvement in community service programs.
"Athletics is a vital part of the student experience here at Dartmouth, and achieving excellence in athletics is a goal of every student-athlete, coach and administrator," said Galbraith. "Dartmouth Peak Performance will combine the great teaching, learning, research and collaboration that happen at our institution in ways that impact our student-athletes.
"We expect the program to evolve constantly as we consult with experts both on and off campus about cutting-edge approaches," added Galbraith. "While we don't have all the answers yet, we have a clear mission and resources, so we can't wait to get started."
Sheehy, who came to Dartmouth 10 months ago after remarkably successful stints as men's basketball coach and athletics director at Williams College, summed up the program by stating, "This is one of the most exciting things we have attempted in a long time. We have people who are passionate here about helping our student-athletes reach their potential, so as we approach this fall, we are looking forward to getting up and running, and to providing these services. We received an absolutely wonderful anonymous gift that will allow us to budget this during our first year, not only to utilize the resources on our own campus, but to bring resources from off-campus to help our student-athletes reach their potential."
"What we are doing is not unique," remarked Sheehy, "but it will be uniquely Dartmouth."
As a member of the Ivy League, Dartmouth competes at the NCAA Division I level in 34 varsity sports.